Let’s assume there is a problem today. The problem is that not a lot of people seem to be getting saved. Can you play along? This article is for Christians only. I want brothers and sisters to consider what I am going to say because I believe it is important. Just thinking about it brings conviction to my soul. To be more specific, it brings me shame and distress. Thankfully, I don’t stay there long as I lay my sin at the foot of the cross and trust that Christ has wiped them away completely, but once in while He gives me an all-too-clear glimpse of my truly disgraceful sin nature and tendency to succumb to the flesh.
The sin I am going to talk about is the worst sin possible. It is the sin of unbelief. In fact, it is the only unforgivable sin, if committed fully against the Son of God, Jesus Christ. But for those of us who have had hearts regenerated by His Holy, Infinite Grace, unbelief still creeps in. Often it occurs in subtle and deceitful ways. In my case, and I believe in many others, it can be spawned by a misapplication of scripture. Not a misinterpretation or misunderstanding in this case, but a mis-applying of the often well-understood, clearly believed Truths.
For now, I need to establish some assumptions I will trust axiomatically for purposes of this post. These are not un-provable, but I’m going to choose not to prove them now. Additionally, if you are of a different ‘camp’ in this often disputed eschatological argument, I’d encourage you to judge the content of the article NOT based on whether you agree with my view of end times, but rather, whether the statements I make do, in fact, logically follow from my assumptions, and whether the application I’ll try to encourage myself and others to employ as the result is actually biblical.
Ok. Long story short. “Too late,” you say? Sorry. 🙂 Let’s begin here. I’m what I believe is commonly called a pretribulational, premillenialist. (I think I got that right) What this means is that I believe that the next event that is to occur, prophetically speaking, is what is called the rapture of the church. I trust it is imminent and that nothing is ‘holding that back’ prophetically that still needs to occur; that is, it could happen at any time. It also means that I believe there will be 7 years of tribulation on the Earth after that event, followed by a literal 1000 year Earthly reign of Christ on Earth. As I said these are oft disputed items that are not to be proved in this article.
Now, what I am going to say is the result of this may also be shared by people of other end-times views. People who share the same views as I do may have different understandings than what I’m about to share as well. I’m just one man, and I may or may not represent the whole of my ‘camp.’ In other words, don’t throw out a baby because I’m in the bathwater!
So what? So I believe this rapture is imminent and the millennial reign is future? Why does that matter? Well, here is why. I believe that the sin cursed world we live in is only getting worse. The degradation of EVERYTHING is continuing without regression. If it had velocity, I’d tell you it was accelerating. At the least, it is not slowing down. The bible declares that scoffers will come in the last days (2 Peter 3:3). It is also clear that not a lot of people will be saved! (Matthew 7:13-14) So what’s my problem? Well, I think that at times, I take these verses and biblical ideas too far! I am shocked when someone wants to talk about Christ. If I hear that God has graciously saved someone, I am sometimes very skeptical! Reminds me of a strange story. The other day I saw I license plate that said, “CYNIC.” I glanced over at the guy and said, “I don’t believe you are a cynic.” LOL, eh?
Anyway, the point is that I think part of the problem is that my focus is NOT on the Power and Glory and Grace of God! It’s like I’ve lost hope and faith that God is really going to work in the hearts and lives of people. Instead of preaching or witnessing, EXPECTING God to perform a miracle, I sometimes realize that I actually EXPECT THE OPPOSITE! I may be doing the right thing, actually in true loving, obedience to my Savior and Lord. But I am not being really faithful that He CAN and WILL save! I chalk it up to, “Well, it’s the end times. We’re just going to get scoffers and mockers and others who will not come to saving faith.”
I’m ashamed. Biblically, before 100 A.D. it was considered the end-times as well. Thank God the men and women of the faith in those times didn’t give up hope, even in the face of GREATER PERSECUTION than I’ve ever seen. Thank God early 20th century preachers didn’t give up just because they could see the end coming. We trust that the Lord could come any day…but do we ever think that maybe He could come 500 years from now? Maybe we are not even getting a glimpse of what “end-times” Christians will experience because the things we lament today will be SO MUCH WORSE years from now, maybe after we’ve gone to be with the Lord. My fear is that our attitude of unbelief is actually contributing to the problem. My sin has consequences in this world still, even if Jesus has paid for them. My sin still hurts people, and myself, as well as being an offense to my perfectly loving and graceful Savior.
Is it too late? It is too late to pray like we believe that God might bring revival to the USA? Many Christians, including me are sure God has taken His protective hand off of us. That the changes we’ve seen in our government lately is an indicator that we’ve already been left to our own sinful desires. EVEN IF THIS IS TRUE, I ASK, DOES THAT MEAN WE OUGHT NOT BELIEVE GOD CAN AND WILL RESTORE US? Isn’t that Israel’s basic problem? Wasn’t God, in the OT, for example, always ready to restore them to Himself? He was waiting for them all the time, inasmuch as you can ascribe the human quality of waiting to our Lord. Let’s just say he was patient, we He not? And how many times did He pick them back up after they fell? And He is going to do it again still! Pray to that end for the USA! Pray for your friends and family, but do it like you believe it. Not because your positive attitude will affect the effectiveness of your prayer, but because it is a display of our absolute TRUST in the Goodness and Faithfulness of the God of creation! It is an exhibition of His Glory when we pray for things that seem impossible!
To ask Him to protect you on your way home from work is perfectly ok, and I trust He does that for any of us that makes it home safely. But really, do you pray that prayer with urgency? And when you do, do you find it improbable in your mind that you weren’t going to make it home anyway? God doesn’t need a head start or a lead! When we pray to God, we can pray for the most unlikely thing, and if it is in His will, it will be done. So be bold! Ask God to save your mom or dad or your brother or sister. Ask Him to regenerate the heart of Barack Obama, because He can, and because you’ve had a heart change yourself, by which you are actually concerned for where our President will spend eternity, not because he annoys you. Do it because you deserve Hell as much as the President, and you will not be going there by the grace of God through faith in Christ alone.
So have you given up hope? Are you like me, a sinner in need of a Savior, not only from the punishment of your sin, but from the bondage of sin? The chains that keep me locked up in the mindset that if a camel cannot go through the eye of a needle in my mind, then it is not happening. With God, all things are possible! Luke 18:27
Dear Christian reader: do not despair, but rather rejoice in the Glory of our Lord Jesus Christ! Trust His Sovereign Grace to penetrate the hearts of sinners. And although you know that there are few that will find it, pray to Him knowing He can save more than we may think “a few” is. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ!! Truly trust Him, in Him and Him alone. Stop being a part of the problem. Stop looking at every scoffer and mocker as “just an enemy of the gospel,” and start seeing them as sinners, like yourself, who desperately need a savior. And chances are they need a friend like you to introduce them by sharing with them what Christ did for them and why. If you really believe the rapture is coming, you should spend any moment you can sharing the gospel with an unsaved person! Do not misapply the scripture; Christ’s imminent return is cause to “be busy,” (Matthew 24:42,44-46) not be idle. It is a reason to have hope, not give up. As Tony says, “Don’t Quit!”